Supporting impact - Scottish Crown Estate net revenue: local authority use and insights

Net Revenues from the Scottish Crown Estate have been distributed to coastal Local Authorities for the benefit of coastal communities since 2019. This study was commissioned as part of the review process for the first two rounds of distribution of Scottish Crown Estate net revenues.

Net revenue distribution and use

Round 1- Net Revenues from 2017-18 distributed in 2019

The net revenue generated by the Scottish Crown Estate was first distributed to local authorities through a mechanism as recommended and approved by COSLA in September 2019. The allocation to each local authority was based on the length of coastline in each area, with a de minimis payment of £1000. Table 1 illustrates the distribution of net revenues to Local Authorities for the first two rounds and is split into the tiers used to shape the research approach.

The first-round distribution saw 26 of the 32 Scottish Local Authorities together receive ~ £7.5[1] million of net revenue generated by the Scottish Crown Estate in 2017-2018.

On 11 April 2020, Scottish Ministers announced that Local Authorities could use any remaining funds from their 2019/20 allocation to support businesses - including Third Sector organisations - in genuine need arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The net revenue allocations for 2019/20 from income generated in 2017/18 provided funding for more than 100 projects, ranging from £90 awarded by Aberdeenshire Council to the Marine Society for beach cleaning, to £595,693 awarded by Orkney Island's Council to support grants for local businesses affected by COVID-19.

Scottish Government's Marine Scotland Directorate published a report on Local Authority Expenditure of the net revenues in December 2020, which is Enclosure 1. This assessment considered the use of funds against 8 primary objectives grouped under three broad outcomes, thus:


Emissions reduction or waste removal

Environment enhancement

Local economy



Skills development

Diversification projects


Investment for community purpose

Climate change adaptation

At the time of reporting, 67% of the fund had been committed. Figure 1 below illustrates the proportion of this committed funding distributed in 2019 within each of the three primary outcomes noted in the report.

Figure 1. Proportion of Local Authority net revenue committed spend across the three primary outcomes in 2019: 24% on Environment, 37% on Local Economy, 39% on Place. Data provided by Marine Scotland's report of Local Authority Expenditure, Dec 2020; Enclosure 2.
Pie chart showing the proportion of Local Authority net revenue committed spend across the three primary outcomes in 2019: 24% on Environment, 37% on Local Economy, 39% on Place.

Round 2- Net Revenues from 2018-19 distributed in 2020

The second round of net revenue payments was announced on the 11 July 2020. The announcement showed an increase of over £2.5 million from the previous year to a total of £9,699,487. The distribution formula remained the same as Year 1. A summary of the distributions is provided in Table 1 below.

Marine Scotland Directorate will publish an expenditure report for this period based on the same methodology as used for Year 1, expected in December 2021.

Table 1. Distribution of net revenue to Local Authorities during the first two years, split into three tiers based on the total allocation in each round; used to shape the research approach.
Allocation Tier Local Authority % Overall Share Share of 2017-2018 (round 1) Share of 2018-2019 (round 2)
High (£200k+) Comhairle nan Eilean Siar 23.66% £1,702,411.87 £2,295,031.34
Highland 17.96% £1,292,405.46 £1,742,299.32
Argyll and Bute 15.51% £1,115,864.35 £1,504,303.21
Shetland Islands 14.02% £1,008,679.18 £1,359,806.27
Orkney Islands 10.75% £773,673.43 £1,042,993.65
Aberdeenshire 4.56% £328,314.06 £442,602.09
Dumfries and Galloway 4.29% £309,041.03 £416,620.01
Mid (£40k-200k) Fife 1.90% £136,659.86 £184,231.95
Moray 1.42% £102,508.59 £138,192.43
South Ayrshire 1.30% £93,299.80 £125,778.00
North Ayrshire 1.23% £88,162.57 £118,852.48
Angus 1.12% £80,950.46 £109,129.78
East Lothian 0.80% £57,915.72 £78,076.52
Scottish Borders 0.80% £57,312.45 £77,263.25
Aberdeen City 0.42% £30,400.00 £40,982.41
Low (£1k-10k) Edinburgh, City of 0.08% £5,408.52 £7,291.25
Inverclyde 0.05% £3,476.20 £4,686.29
Perth and Kinross 0.02% £1,565.81 £2,110.87
Falkirk 0.02% £1,442.66 £1,944.86
Dundee City 0.01% £1,000.00 £1,290.84
Clackmannanshire 0.01% £1,000.00 £1,000.00
Glasgow City 0.01% £1,000.00 £1,000.00
Renfrewshire 0.01% £1,000.00 £1,000.00
Stirling 0.01% £1,000.00 £1,000.00
West Dunbartonshire 0.01% £1,000.00 £1,000.00
West Lothian 0.01% £1,000.00 £1,000.00
Total 100.00% £7,196,492.02 £9,699,486.83



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